The Kentucky Wildcats used a dominant second half to fight off Vanderbilt on Tuesday night to remain in first-place in the SEC standings with a 78-64 win over the Commodores at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville.
The Wildcats, now 19-5 overall and 9-2 in conference play, had to overcome a 14-point first half deficit as Vanderbilt was on fire from behind the third-point arc, hitting eight first-half threes to race out to a 36-27 lead at the break.
However, the second half was all Kentucky as Nick Richards dominated the first two minutes, blocking three shots and scoring twice in the post to shift the momentum and cut the lead to 39-35. A Tyrese Maxey lay-up would cut the lead to 46-44 at the 12:40 mark before two free throws by EJ Montgomery tied the game at 46-all with 11:48 remaining.
The Wildcats took its first lead of the game on a reverse lay-up by Maxey, who also nailed a three-pointer to extend the lead to 51-46 with 10:19 remaining. Vanderbilt made one last ditch effort to come back, pressing full-court and getting an easy lay-up to cut the lead to 62-57 before Immanuel Quickley put the game away with back-to-back three pointers to push the lead back to 68-57 with 3:03 left in regulation.
The trio of Ashton Hagans, Maxey and Quickley combined for 53 points with Hagans on triple-double watch, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Kentucky has had just three triple-doubles in school history, the last coming in 2016 when Isaiah Briscoe finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists against Mississippi.
Maxey led all scorers with 25 points, while Quickley added 17. Nick Richards also had a huge second half, finishing the game with 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
No. 12-ranked Kentucky returns home to play Ole Miss at 2:00 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center.
After the game, UK Coach John Calipari and select players met with the media to discuss another tough road victory, courtesy of UK Athletics.